A contraction by any other name would sound as sweet. (Sorry, Shakespeare.)
Technically, is a contraction without an apostrophe really a contraction? Frankly, I do not know. Maybe it could be called a contracted contraction. Sometimes at the heart of the issue is verbal laziness. I guess it's just easier to say (and write) things in contracted form, not to mention the "tons" [ironic exaggeration] of time we save in cutting down on the number of letters or syllables in our writings and utterances!
Taking notes in law class for me can be quite frustrating, so I've come up with my own contractions/shorthand to streamline the process. L and Ls are lawyer and lawyers; C or Cs are client and clients; AA and AAs, administrative agency or agencies; liab is liability; lit is litigation; etc. I even use the symbol for pi for plaintiff and a triangle for defendant. Would I pronounce these contractions? No.
Being unable to speak any language besides English, I have no basis for comparing English to any other languages. I have a feeling, however, they too have their ways of contracting words, both short and long, difficult-to-pronounce and not-so-difficult to pronounce. I heard a fellow student in law say to me the other day: "Will I see you in Crim Law tomorrow?" Why did she shorten the word criminal to crim? I don't know, but I did understand she was talking about a course in Criminal Law.
On the other hand, we often contract real tongue twisters, and for good reason. Sometimes we run into problems there, too. Example: ob gyn, which Americans pronounce Oh Bee Gee Why En! Why not ob gine (with a hard G)? Who knows. As John Lawler pointed out, spelling doesn't give a s**t about pronunciation. The former pronunciation certainly "beats" saying obstetrician/gynecologist, however!